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Largest indigenous group refuses to negotiate until demands are met

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie) announced Thursday that it would not join negotiations with the government until three conditions are met. Conaie, Ecuador’s largest indigenous organization, criticized other indigenous and campesino organizations that are currently involved in talks mediated by the United Nations.

Conaie President Jaime Vargas

Conaie’s refusal to negotiate follows its release of 10 police officers it had held hostage for 12 hours in a Quito cultural center and its demand that the government not charge one of its members for attacking a television journalist.

Conaie’s leadership called for a state of “radicalization” among its members and installed an assembly to plan future action. “Our demands are non-negotiable,” said Jaime Vargas, Conaie president. “They are intended to end the reign of terror that the government is visiting upon our people.”

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The organization’s demands are for the government to reinstate fuel subsidies that were eliminated by President Lenin Moreno October 2; that Interior Minister María Paula Romo and Defense Minister Oswaldo Jarrín be fired; and that the government assume responsibility for all deaths that occur during anti-government protests.

Teleamazonas reporter Freddy Paredes is carried to an ambulance Thursday after being struck by a rock. (El Comercio)

Vargas said he may also demand that the government turn over control of Ecuador’s oil operations to indigenous communities.

The ten police held by Conaie were publicly displayed Thursday morning on the state of the Agora Cultural Center with indigenous multi-color flags draped around their shoulders. The display angered Jarrín, who said the images reminded him of ISIS captives in the Middle East. The police were released Thursday night and turned over to United Nations officials.

Conaie also rejected a call by Romo for the capture and prosecution of the man who attacked Quito television journalist Freddy Paredes Thursday morning. Paredes was struck in the head by a rock after he left the Agora Center and his attacker is identifiable in a number of videos of the incident.

Paredes, who worked for Teleamazonas, is in critical condition at a Quito hospital.

Although Conaie condemned the attack on Paredes, it insists that the attacker not be prosecuted. “It was unfortunate but we need to put it aside and move on,” Vargas said. “Case closed.”

President Lenin Moreno did not respond to the Conaie demands, saying instead that talks with other indigenous groups and labor and transit unions were going well. “I believe we are working toward a solution,” he said in an interview.

In other protest news, 17 foreigners were arrested Thursday at the Quito airport, most of them Venezuelans, and charged with entering the country illegally to “spread chaos and unrest.”

In an afternoon press conference, Romo announced that the week-long anti-government protests have resulted in four deaths, including one at a roadblock west of Cuenca.

65 thoughts on “Largest indigenous group refuses to negotiate until demands are met

  1. It’s nice to see that President Moreno does not negotiate with the Conaie terrorists organization, they should definitely crush the leadership, imprison them for assault and kidnapping and begin negotiations when new leadership arrives. President Moreno is clearly a man of integrity and honor.

    1. ” President Moreno is clearly a man of integrity and honor ” don’t make me laugh my friend, seriously? At least once in your life, be honest with yourself.
      And for your information, the CONAIE are not the terrorists, the US is, where you belong to.
      The enemy is not our country, our people. Blame the US for this and his IMF. Get informed, not a sheep or a dog, that follow orders. Be free, think by yourself:))

      1. “Blame the U.S.”? The rock that has left the reporter in a hospital in critical condition was not thrown by the U.S., it was thrown by one of the indigenous terrorists, who is now being shielded by Vargas and Conaie. It is clearly the indigenous who are intent on prolonging and increasing violence. Moreno and his administration should not give the terrorist who put the reporter in critical condition a pass. He should be arrested and tried for attempted murder – and in the sad circumstance ithat the reporter should not survive – for murder.

        1. I wonder what you would have said in 1922, when American businesses in Guayaquil had the local authorities gun down 1500 laborers listening to speeches about less abusive working conditions. The businesses did not want their profits jeopardized.

          The difference was that a thrown rock is a silly, gesture, most often without a specific target. The Americans in 1922 Guayaquil, wanted people slaughtered.

          The simple truth is that freedom and democracy entail great risk. It is not for cowards. Cowards will accept all sorts of encroachment of their liberties if you tell them they will be physically safer.

            1. But Michael, Nothing has changed, in this area, with your culture since before the Revolution. It has merely been expanding in scope. Do you really think there is no connection between American businessmen having their minions mass slaughter Ecuadorian workers with automatic weaponry and Americans mass slaughtering other Americans with automatic weaponry today?! Don’t shut your eyes.

            2. Michael. My dear friend Mr Globetrotter is telling fibs again. Just like his counterpart Mr Fakener!

          1. You are NOT seriously suggesting that the rock thrower get a free ride and no prosecution when he critically injured a journalist.

          2. American businesses directed nobody to to anything in 1922. Ecuador President José Luis Tamayo gave direct orders to open fire. He
            was quoted by an aid, the day before the killings, saying, “I hope that
            tomorrow, at six in the afternoon, you will inform me that you have
            returned Guayaquil’s tranquility by whatever means necessary. Above all,
            the interests of business must be protected.”

          3. You tend to manipulate the facts to support your puerile
            prejudices which fail to adhere to reality I’m afraid!

    1. Those people are infiltrated, the same President said last night.
      The Protesters are peaceful people, but, the vandals are taking advantage of the situation. Venezuelans are being part of this strike, and creating the chaos in the City. I know that as a fact, one house next to mine was robbed on Wednesday night, after the National Strike, and we know this people, the same people we feed. Incredible:))

      1. Of course this is likely true. Whenever a crisis occurs, bad elements want to “join in the fun” and foment violence. It’s in their nature; i.e. they’re low-life animals.
        I’ve said it for many years – identify and quarantine (or eliminate) sociopaths and psychopaths. The world will then advance very rapidly. Otherwise we all stay on this ridiculous and destructive merry-go-round, kow-towing to evil, self-serving “leaders”.

      2. First he said it was Venezuelans. Then he said it was the FARC. Today the vice-president said all the protestors are being paid $40 per day to be in the streets.

        These are the last gasps of a regime that’s already over. The sad thing is there are so many gullible still carrying water for them.

      3. So if this “infiltrator” that threw the rock is being protected by CONIA then it stands to reason that the protestors aren’t as peaceful as you would have us believe

      1. You are off topic. Police risk their lives all day long and they need to make decisions within split seconds. If it weren’t for the police the world would be chaos. I would suggest spending a week with a police officer and I would venture to guess that you would change your mind after seeing how often their lives are at risk

    2. What about the cop who intentionally rode his motorcycle over a kid who was laying on the ground? Should he be prosecuted? What about the ones who fired teargas into a maternity hospital?

      1. You are also off topic and once again arguing for the sake of arguing and justifying criminal behavior. Police risk their lives everyday. This protestor that seriously wounded a reporter does not go out everyday and try to keep peace and at the same time risk his life. Your comparisons don’t even make sense

          1. We have noticed that when you have no comeback with logic then your next step is to insult. It is not necessary to clutter the conversation with meanness

  2. Three “ignorant Americans” (Truth, Charlie, Robert – it is how the outside world sees you) making their clueless comments as usual. No hope for your lack of essential education or understanding. Ecuador belongs to the indigenous people. Not to the UN nor any government that attacks them when they protest poverty. Poverty intentionally imposed on them since Europeans invaded their land. This lack of awareness and basic human decency is inexcusable. Since there is no respect for indigenous Ecuadorians, then why are you still using their kindness and hospitality?

    1. This is not about your view that “Ecuador belongs to the indigenous people”. Certainly I am not, and I haven’t seen anybody else do so, disputing the historical importance of the indigenous, their importance today, or that they have often had their rights trampled upon by Ecuadorian politicians. What this is about is Vargas demanding that a protestor who intentionally threw a rock that has left a reporter in a hospital in critical condition be exonerated from due justice for his terrorist act. If it is your view that these protestors/terrorists who intentionally injure and/or kill other people should be excused because the indigenous have had their rights trampled upon by other Ecuadorians; and if it is your intent to attack U.S. expats for having a different view than you, then it is you who are totally unreasonable and ignorant – and it is that unreasonableness and ignorance among you and others that is prolonging the disruption and promoting the violence in Ecuador.

      1. Well said. This is the type of logic that people need to understand rather than some who go off on a tangent that happened in the past to justify currently criminal behavior

    2. The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. – Solzenitsyn

  3. If a nation allows gangs in the street, or in this case, in a cultural center, to make political decisions, we are in trouble. That is a recipe for chaos and anarchy. In no way can Moreno allow mob rule. In a democracy like ours, we elect leaders to make decisions, and if we don’t like the decisions, we have the opportunity to voice our opinion every four years at the ballot box.

    1. You would be happier in China, Venezuela or Russia. Your comments makes it is easy to see how protests in the USA seem to always end in death.

    2. The people voiced their opinion at the ballot box. The voted against neoliberalism and a continuation of the economic policies that we had for the last decade, the economic policies that Moreno spelled out in his political platform and had notarized as required by law. Under Ecuadorian law, failure to carry out said notarized political plan is grounds for removal. By the time Ecuador goes to the polls in 2021, it will be to late to undo the damage. The economy (and dollarization) will be toast, there will be tens of billions in new debt and we’ll have nothing to show for it.

      1. They can vote in 2021. Until then, be patient. Where do you think we should have a Trump rally?

        1. It doesn’t work that way. Under Ecuadorian law, when a politician violates the political program promised during the campaign (and signed at a notary), they can be recalled.

    1. We need Hunter Biden to do the oil thing and Globetrotter can use the travel agency Hillary setup

  4. jaime vargas seems more concerned with his own power than with finding a solution to current problems. he may be President of his group, but he is not a leader. perhaps members of his indigenous group should reconsider their choice of president

    1. Well since you’re our resident expert on the problems of the indigenous community, who would you tell them to vote for?

      1. For your question “ who would you tell them to vote for”
        Certainly not someone that protects criminal behavior

      2. Jason- you’re the new & improved Google. I figured you know for sure- Maybe your hero Correa

      1. I don’t understand your grammar or sentence structure too well. Can you try to speak clearly? Your sentence does not include a verb and I do not know what you are referring to.

        1. Oh, so it’s fake news that Conaie has conditions? Thank god we have Facebook, Twitter and comments section like this one for accurate information.

          1. If you’re relying on El Telegrafo, Teleamazonas and El Comercio for “information”, it would explain why you’re so misinformed.

            On the first day of the protests, and every day since, Moreno explicitly stated that his position is non-negotiable. So what are they supposed to sit down with him to discuss? Everyone has conditions. The issue is who’s conditions will be met. Moreno was elected on a platform that was the polar opposite of what he’s doing now. It was spelled out and notarized at the Notario Publico as all political candidates are required to do when running for office. It’s a contract with the electorate, a contract that Moreno has blatantly ignored. According to the Ecuadorian Constitution, that is grounds for removal from office.

            I’m not aware of any law that says CONAIE, or any other political actor for that matter, is not allowed to go into negotiations with any conditions. Perhaps you know something I don’t?

            1. Conaie repeatedly said that he is not going to negotiate with Moreno and failing to make that point is again not accurate information on your part

              1. Moreno repeatedly said that his position is non-negotiable. Therefore, there’s nothing to negotiate. Either he goes or they go. That’s what non-negotiable means.

  5. They refuse to negotiate with Moreno … who has stated repeatedly since day 1 that his position is non-negotiable.

    This is why the Montecristi Constitution has the “Muerte Cruzada” clause. Time to put that tool to work.

    1. That is what negotiations are all about. Differing opinions coming together and at least trying to agree on some points. Moreno doesn’t seem to have a problem negotiating with the other groups that came to the table but is only having problems with the one that refuses to negotiate

      1. Moreno explicitly stated that his position is non-negotiable. How do you negotiate with someone who says they won’t negotiate?

      2. Moreno is either a complete moron or a sleazy corruptocrat on the take (or both). He could have easily avoided all the bloodshed, loss of life and total disruption of the past 10 days by sitting down to discuss these issues with interested parties on Day One of his administration and– if no other alternative actions were deemed possible– then gradually implementing price increases over an agreed-upon extended period of time.

        If he didn’t know that his ham-fisted, all-at-once, absolutely irreversible, non-negotiable stance on this issue would result in a huge backlash then he truly is an idiot.

        Even at this juncture, he could still go to the IMF with hat in hand and say, “Look guys, we’ve got to back off on this. Aside from all the misery the paro is causing our nation, it’s also causing huge losses to government coffers and necessitating huge unexpected expenditures, both of which make it more difficult for us to repay our loans in the future. Give us a break or we’ll have to go elsewhere for our loan.”

        And why have we never seen an explanation as to why the loan that mandated these neo-liberal austerity measures was even needed?

        The total loan package is a little over $4 billion which, coincidentally, is almost the same amount that Moreno punted early in his administration when he gave huge tax breaks and delinquent tax forgiveness to the most wealthy individuals and corporations in the country.

        Gee, why would poor peasants who have to squeeze every centavo for their meager existence be incensed this?

        1. And why have we never seen an explanation as to why the loan that mandated these neo-liberal austerity measures was even needed?


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